Fire in the pines and puddles: Forest strategies span diverse regions

by Deborah Kidd, Marketing Manager

Can our prescription for evergreen forest health in Washington equate to restoration in the flatwood savannas of the Mississippi Delta?  Last week, I traded Washington for Louisiana to find out.

It was a bit of an ecological homecoming. I grew up in Florida, and I was keen to see the region through the conservation lens I’ve sharpened here in Washington. While my childhood wasn’t marked by river restoration or habitat conservation, I do know my way around swamps and wetlands. I know frogs and turtles and the Gulf of Mexico; or the rustle of reeds that reveal a gator lurking nearby.

Longleaf pine flatwoods once stretched from eastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, but today only 1-5% of the original ecosystem remains. Photo by Mark Conlin.

Water all around

I joined colleagues for a field trip to The Nature Conservancy’s Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve—a trek that included the 24-mile bridge spanning Lake Pontchartrain. My memory quickly recalled the southern sensation of water all around, even underneath.

In Washington we get our water steadily from above, but in the south water drips, flows and seeps. When rain sweeps through, it doesn’t plod along pensively. It means instant

Original Title: Fire in the pines and puddles: Forest strategies span diverse regions
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